Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for the ‘Relaxation’ Category

Monday Morning Movie Break

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After all that’s gone on in Wisconsin, and in the United States as a whole the past few weeks, I needed a break. 

So I took one, and watched the most recent movie Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey, Jr., as the title character and Jude Law as his trusty sidekick, Dr. Watson.  I enjoyed it a great deal, as it’s a different take on a character I thought I knew all too well after devouring all of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories and reading all the best science fiction and fantasy “knockoffs,” some of which are diverting in their own right.

See, in this last movie version, Sherlock Holmes is played as a guy who’s not merely cerebral and/or half-touched in the head, but also a prime physical specimen, which I didn’t expect to see at all even though it follows from the text.   (How could Sherlock Holmes have done all the things he was said to do without being in excellent physical shape?  Especially when you consider all the drugs Holmes sampled, partly for the sake of research and partly to get away from the tedium of daily life.)  Downey, Jr., has always been among my favorite actors because he’s obviously not  just a pretty face; he’s intelligent, has a sense of humor, and doesn’t take himself too seriously, which all served him well here.

How did I miss this movie when it came out in 2009?  I’m not sure.  But I’m glad I caught it now, because it’s well worth watching — the only thing that I’m sure was not period was the cleanliness of the London city streets as depicted.  (No streets could be as clean as that; not our modern ones with all our technology and lack of horses, certainly not the ones back then without the tech and with the horses.)

Watching this movie helped me to remember that there’s still some things I haven’t experienced in this world that might be worth the time, as I’d really been fretting over the state of the world (and my place within it) again, partly due to whatever cold or flu bug I’ve picked up this time.

There’s a lot of things that are completely out of my control.  I’ve known that since I was small, and that lesson was reinforced considerably after two of the most important people to me in the world died (my Grandma in 1999, and my beloved husband Michael in 2004).  Watching the political world going wild, not being able to get away from it, and not being able to do very much about it gets to me.

I’m glad, and grateful, when anything can transport me away for a few hours — and this movie did.  I highly recommend it to anyone who loves intelligent action movies or appreciates Sherlock Holmes and believes that a really attractive guy like Downey, Jr., can play him as credibly as anyone — or maybe even a bit better.

Written by Barb Caffrey

August 8, 2011 at 5:55 am

Time to de-stress

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After the tumult of the past week, I badly needed a day to get away from it all and de-stress.

You see, I get very worked up about politics.  I don’t see it as “political theatre,” or at least not just that . . . I see it as extremely important.  And sometimes, the importance of the political moment can crowd out everything else.

I don’t know about anyone else, but what I do to de-stress is to read my favorite “comfort books” (as I discussed a few blogs ago), rest, then meditate after I’m a bit calmer.  Because things are usually neither as bad as they first appear, nor as rosy as they can look in our best moments — they’re like people, period, and have elements of both.

That we can have the seed of hope in a truly despairing day is one of those conundrums philosophers have been trying to solve for millenia, and I know I certainly don’t have the answer to it.  But that does seem a saving grace, now and again.

Yesterday, the hope I saw despite all the tumult was an unusual picture — on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show,” starring disc jockey and humanitarian Ed Schultz, he had a member of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered (GLBT) community in Madison right alongside a member of the pro-life community in Madison.  This is rarely seen; even more rare, they got along, and agreed that what the protestors are fighting about (the right to have their voices be heard through collective bargaining) is extremely important.

But I couldn’t take in that hopeful picture just then; I was too wracked by the suffering I could see, easily, if the current Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, gets his way.

Therefore, what this blog is about is simple: sometimes we need to take a step back when we’re too emotionally involved in something — particularly if it’s an external event.  (I’m not saying you should step back from your love relationships; far from it!  Though sometimes sleeping on a decision helps you, so the principle does apply somewhat even to this example.)  Only when we de-stress a bit can we actually figure out that there are hopeful things going on all around us, big and small . . . and that life isn’t as bad as it first appears.

My late husband Michael often used this axiom — just get through the day, or as he put it, “sufficient unto the day are the needs thereof.”  (I know he’s quoting someone but I haven’t been able to figure out who said this first.)   It helps to remember that not everything in the world is awful, hopeless, bleak beyond belief or worthless, even though stupid things do keep happening (today, in Madison, some probably well-meaning doctor handed out fake “I am really ill” slips to anyone who asked, including a Fox News producer) that make my teeth grind.

Now, I’m going back and watching some more of “The Maury Show,” which is yet another way to de-stress that I find extremely helpful.  I hope you find your way to relax, get away from it all — at least mentally if you can’t physically — and remember to enjoy whatever you can of your life.

Written by Barb Caffrey

February 19, 2011 at 10:45 pm